The Nineteenth Sunday after the Festival of the Holy Trinity

The Quitter Who Became A Useful Servant

Bible Characters & their Stories for Today

 John Mark:


At the end of the nineteenth century, a boxer named “Gentlemen Jim” Corbett, held the heavyweight championship title of the world for five consecutive years. When someone asked him what the key to his success was, he answered with these words: “Fight one more round. When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the center of the ring, fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black, fight one more round. When you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round….always remembering that the man who won’t quit, but who fights one more round, is never whipped.”

John Mark evidently hadn’t learned that lesson when, as a young man, he accompanied his uncle Barnabas, and Saul (later called Paul) the Apostle on Paul’s  first missionary journey.   After starting their ministry – and facing the Devil’s opposition – on Barnabas’ “home island” of Cyprus, the team traveled to Perga in Pamphilia (on the southern coast of today’s country called Turkey).

  It was there that John Mark quit the team and return home to Jerusalem.   Why did he quit?   What motivated him to head home with the team’s work barely begun?   We don’t know.  The Bible gives us no answer.     But, perhaps, the Holy Spirit left “the particulars” of Mark’s quitting out of the Scriptural record so that we can all relate a bit better to Mark’s failure (and Paul’s legitimate frustration with him).   After all, quitting when things get tough, as well as letting down the people who depend on you is something that happens when you’re a sinner living among sinners.  Each of us have failed in that arena, just as others have let us down when we needed them to be dependable.   It’s for reasons like this that John Mark’s story, as well as Barnabas’ and Paul’s involvement in it (and their markedly different reactions to Mark’s letting them down) are both relevant and encouraging for us today.

The biggest takeaway we can find in today’s  study of John Mark’s Scriptural story is that our God is “the God of second chances.”   When John Mark quit the team, he was sinning against the LORD – whether he realized it or not.   That’s the point that Jesus will make in our Second Lesson today…..and we dare not gloss over it, or make excuses for it, either in Mark’s case or our own.   He sinned by quitting.    So do we, and we need to repent of such failures.  Judas Iscariot also, obviously, failed Christ in our Youth Devotion for today when he arranged to betray Christ to His enemies.

We simply don’t have the liberty to serve God on our terms….but only and always on His terms.   Our consistent dependability matters to God.   Still, the fact that we’re sinners is precisely why God sent His Son into the world:   to forgive our transgressions, whatever they might be.  When we fail to be dependable and serve Him faithfully, the LORD nevertheless forgives us  – for Jesus’ sake.  Thank God for His mercy!!!!   Because we know where we would be without it.   As a result, let’s also be merciful to others when they fail us, and do our best (humanly-speaking) to restore them to our Christian fellowship and service.

John Mark received a “second chance” to be rehabilitated, and to serve the LORD through his uncle Barnabas.  Barnabas clearly was more patient and a better encourager than Paul.   Consequently, he demonstrated mercy to his nephew by taking John Mark along with him to preach the Gospel on Cyprus.

     In the aftermath of John Mark’s quitting on both the mission team and his commitment to the LORD to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles, Paul felt he couldn’t depend on the young man.   The issue wasn’t whether or not Paul forgave John Mark (Paul did!), but whether or not he could trust him.   Paul had high expectations when it came to the Gospel ministry, and he wouldn’t compromise them away…even for the sake of his close friendship with Barnabas.   Barnabas could take John Mark wherever he wanted, but Paul wasn’t going to work with and depend on that quitter during his second mission trip (our First Lesson).   It was, no doubt, a bitter “pill” for John Mark to swallow, but a necessary one.   If he wanted Paul’s respect, he would have to earn it.

And he would.   Over time, and through the mentoring of Barnabas and Peter, John Mark was able to demonstrate his renewed commitment to Christ and his trustworthiness when it came to functioning with fellow Christians as a minister of the Gospel.  Peter, of course, had also been given a second chance to serve by Christ (today’s Gospel Lesson) following his denials of even knowing Jesus on the night the Savior was taken captive prior to His crucifixion.   Again, that’s because our God is the God of second chances.

By the time Paul was in his final years as a servant of Christ on earth, the Apostle also had developed a high regard for John Mark in view of the young man’s renewed faithfulness.   Paul would speak about him as a trusted co-worker in his letters to the Colossians (4:10) and to Philemon (verse 24).   In fact, when Paul was experiencing his second (and perhaps final) imprisonment in Rome, he asked Timothy to visit him one last time and specifically requested that he bring Mark along with him….”because he is useful to me in my ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:11….Our Sermon Text).   Obviously, John Mark had matured in his faith and his commitment to the ministry.   Just as obviously, Paul, too, was willing to change his view of John Mark in the light of his demonstrated, renewed commitment to the Gospel ministry.

The last mention of John Mark in Scripture occurs in I Peter 5:13, where Peter calls Mark his “son” – no doubt a sentimental reference to this young man who was as beloved to him as Timothy was to Paul.

John Mark eventually became a ministry companion of Peter’s and his secretary.   Traditionally, Mark is said to have written down the record of Christ’s life and ministry as Peter told it to him.   We know that written record as the Gospel of Mark.   It emphasizes the acts of Christ that proved His deity and that He was the Promised Messiah.   Incidentally, although the shortest of the four Gospels, Mark covers more events of Christ’s life than the other three do.

John Mark served the Christian church in Rome alongside Peter and Paul during part of the period when Nero was emperor.   Depraved and hostile to Christians, Nero would authorize the first empire-wide persecution of Christians.   Both Peter and Paul would be martyred during that time.  And Mark (unlike Demas, who quit on Paul and went to Thessalonica) remained faithful and steadfast throughout.

Christian tradition says that John Mark was also a key figure in the Coptic (Egyptian and Ethiopian) Christian Church.  They maintain that Mark was martyred there around 68A.D. when he was attacked by a mob in Alexandria on Easter Sunday, tied to a horse and dragged to his death.   A later legend suggests that during the 10th century his body was exhumed from its Egyptian grave and transported to Venice, Italy, where it was buried under St. Mark’s Cathedral.



Pre-Service Prayer

The day has dawned and duty calls – so many tasks await.

Lord, strengthen me when my spirit falls, or when I hesitate

To do the good I ought to do, to shun each sinful way.

Jesus, forgive the wrongs I’ll do, and keep me safe today.    Amen.





The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,   The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission.    Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831




Time for Silent Prayer and Preparation



Pre-Service Hymn Singing, beginning at 9:25 a.m.

We Begin our Worship of the Lord


The Greeting and Invitation to worship


At the Pastor’s invitation, the congregation will rise for


The Invocation


     Pastor                      We begin this service in the name of the Father

Congregation         Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.


P:         And of the Son

C:        Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.


P:         And of the Holy Spirit

     C:        Who gave us eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus.

P:         Amen.


This Morning’s Psalm                                                                                                                      Psalm 27


P: The Lord is my Light and my Salvation;  whom shall I fear?

C: The Lord is the Stronghold of my life; +   of whom shall I be afraid?


P: When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

C: Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;   +   though war arise against me,  yet I will be confident.


P: One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:   that I may dwell in the house of the Lord     all the days of my life,  to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.

C: For He will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble;   +   He will conceal me under the cover of His tent;  +   He will lift me high upon a rock.


P: And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me,  and I will offer in His tent     sacrifices with shouts of joy;    I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

C: Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;   +     be gracious to me and answer me!


P: You have said, “Seek My face.”  My heart says to You,     “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

C: Hide not Your face from me.  +  Turn not Your servant away in anger,


P: O You Who have been my Help,    Cast me not off; forsake me not,    O God of my salvation!

C: For my father and my mother have forsaken me,    +   but the Lord will take me in.


P: Teach me Your way, O Lord,   and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

C: Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;      +     for false witnesses have risen against me,    +  and they breathe out violence.


P: I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

C: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!


After which, the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                                 “God Is Here Among His People”

                                                                                 sung to the melody of “‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus”   cwh 2000


God is here among His people!   As we join in praise and prayer,

May we find in fuller measure, Jesus’ grace which we all share.

Here, though in the world abiding, as God’s children set apart,

We rejoice to join together, one in faith, in love, in heart.


Here the Means of Grace remind us of our life-long need for grace.

Here are altar, font, and pulpit;

here Christ’s cross has central place.

Here in faithful Bible preaching, here in silence and in songs,

Here the Spirit, edifying, heart-felt joy in us prolongs.

Here our children find in Baptism   entry to the Shepherd’s fold;

Here, in Sacramental Union,   Christ sustains us, young and old.

Here the servants of the Servant, seek in worship to explore

What it means in daily living, to believe and to adore.


Lord of all, the Church and Kingdom,

in an age of change and doubt,

Keep us faithful to all Scripture;   Help us work Your purpose out.

Here, in bringing praise and off’rings, all we have to give, receive;

We who cannot live without You, We adore You!   We believe!”        Amen.


After which the Congregation will rise for


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor      We have come together in the presence of God, our Heavenly Father, Who created us to love and serve Him

as His dear children.    But We have disobeyed Him through our thoughts, words, and actions, and deserve only His wrath and punishment.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.   In the words of Jeremiah, we confess:


Congregation      Although our sins testify against us, O LORD, do something for the sake of Your name.    For our backsliding is great;   we have sinned against You.


Pastor      In the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, we acknowledge how thoroughly sin fills our lives, even our very being:


Congregation      From within, out of our hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy slander, arrogance, and folly.    All these evils come from inside and make us ‘unclean.’


Pastor      Along with the Apostle John, we recognize:


Congregation      If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Pastor      And in the words of David, before the Lord we plead:


Congregation      I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.   Against You, You only have I sinned     and done what is evil in Your sight,   so that You are proved right when You speak    and justified when You judge.     Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.


Pastor      Jesus says to His people:   “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.”   Our Savior’s perfect life and sacrificial death have paid for the guilt and penalty of our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.   Do you believe this?


Congregation      Yes, I believe this.


Pastor      Then be assured that you are a dear child of God and an heir of everlasting life.   And carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.     May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.



Congregation                  “We Praise You O God, Our Redeemer, Creator”


We praise You O God, our Redeemer Creator   

In grateful devotion our tribute we bring:

We lay it before You, we kneel and adore You; 

We bless Your holy name;   glad praises we sing.


We worship You God of our Fathers, we bless You.

Through life’s storm and tempest, our Guide You have been;

When perils o’er take us, escape You will make us,

And with Your help, O Lord, our battles we win.


With voices united, our praises we offer;

To You, Great Jehovah, glad anthems we raise.

Your strong arm will guide us,   Our God is beside us.

To You, our Great Redeemer, fore’er be praise!    Amen.


Following this the Congregation will be seated for


Today’s Scripture Lessons


The First Lesson                                                                                                                           Acts 15:33-38


36 After a time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return and visit the brothers in every town where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, who is called Mark, along with them. 38 But Paul did not think it was a good idea to take him along, since he had deserted them in Pamphylia and did not continue to travel with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and set out, after being entrusted to the grace of the Lord by the brothers. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.



The Second Lesson                                                                                                                     Luke 9:57-62


57 As they went on the way, a man said to him, “I will follow You wherever You go.”    58 Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”


59 He said to another man, “Follow Me!”   But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”   60 Jesus told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”


61 Another man also said, “I will follow You, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to those at my home.”  62 Jesus told him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”



The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                      John 21:1-14


15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”


“Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I care about You.”


Jesus told him, “Feed My lambs.”


16 A second time Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”


He said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I care about You.”


Jesus told him, “Be a shepherd for My sheep.”


17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you care about Me?”


Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you care about Me?” He answered, “Lord, You know all things. You know that I care about You.”


“Feed My sheep,” Jesus said. 18 “Amen, Amen, I tell you: When you were young, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will tie you and carry you where you do not want to go.”   19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, “Follow Me.”

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them. This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and asked, “Lord, who is going to betray You?” 21 When Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”


22 “If I want him to remain until I come,” Jesus answered, “what is that to you? You follow Me.” 23 And so it was said among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say that he would not die, but, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”


24 This is the disciple who is testifying about these things and who wrote these things. We know that his testimony is true.     25 Jesus also did many other things. If every one of them were written down, I suppose the world itself would not have room for the books that would be written.



The Apostles’ Creed                                                             to the melody of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”


I believe in God the Father,    Maker of the heav’ns and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, our Savior,    God’s own Son, of human birth.

Virgin born, the Lord incarnate,    Whom the Spirit did conceive,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate;     Our salvation to achieve.


Crucified, was dead and buried,    Down to hell in victory;

From the dead He rose the third day;  

Up to heav’n triumphantly.

There at God’s right hand He’s ruling,

By His will the world is led.

He will come to judge the nations,    Both the living and the dead.


I believe in God the Spirit,    In His Church, His chosen band.

They are joined in close communion,

 Holy in His sight they stand.

I believe in sins forgiven;    That the dead will rise again;

I believe in life eternal.    Amen!   Amen!   A – – men!

The Youth Devotion Lesson                                                                                             Matthew 26:14-16


14 Then one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on Judas was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.


The Quitter Who Betrayed Jesus



The Sermon Hymn                                                                             Hymn 424 “O God Forsake Me Not”



Today’s Sermon                                                                                                  based on 2 Timothy 4:9-11

9 Make every effort to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this present world, has forsaken me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is useful to me for ministry.


The Quitter Who Became A Useful Servant


The Post-Message Blessing


Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!   Amen.



We Bring our Offerings and Prayers Before Our Lord


We offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:

1) Those in the chapel can  place their offerings in the offering plates

2) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to Grace Lutheran Church (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

3) Or, go online to our website ( and use the giving option there.


Today’s Special Prayers


A Prayer of Intercession for Carl Boettcher, who is contending with pneumonia at the Highlands Rehabilitation Center in Bella Vista;   plus

A Prayer of Intercession for Jackie Hufnagle, a friend of the Terrian family, who has cancer and is receiving treatments for it.


A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Christine and Pat Quinlan

who will be observing their wedding anniversary this Tuesday.



Today’s General Prayer


P: Dear Heavenly Father, once again we have enjoyed the privilege of gathering together in this place to sing Your praise, to worship You, and to hear Your Word.  We praise and thank You for all that You give us each day.  We are not worthy of the many mercies You show us.


C: Bless every person here today, that we might grow in Your grace, and rededicate ourselves to conforming our faith and lives to Your sure Word alone.


P: Daily cover our human faults, frailties, and sins, that they might not hinder the work which You have entrusted to us as Your servants here on earth.    And grant that all our words, our actions, and our intentions reflect our love for the Lamb of God Who has taken away the sin of the world.


C: Keep our sinful instincts and ambitions from dominating our lives + and, instead, empower us through Your Spirit +   to make the crucified and risen Christ   +   the very center of all our worship, faith, and living.


P: Bless our congregation and church body – indeed, Your Church at large throughout the world – by granting us faithful pastors, teachers, leaders, and lay members.  


C: Watch over Your missionaries wherever they are, +   at home and abroad   +  and enable them to serve You faithfully and joyfully.   +    Remind us to hold them up regularly in our prayers   +    and to support them generously with our gifts.   +  Let no area of Your harvest field wither and perish   +    because we have failed to do what You require of us.


P:  Hear us also, LORD, as we take a few moments to silently offer You our personal petitions and praises.          


A Moment of Silent Prayer


P: Finally,  Lord God, accept our thanks for the tremendous privilege of being called Your children, and of being able to come to You now and at any time in prayer.   Help us to grow intellectually, emotionally, spiritually through Your Word, so that we may be faithful servants for You in our homes, and communities, in our congregations, and as members of Your Church on earth. Mercifully hear our prayer, and bless us one and all, for the sake and in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, eternally one God, forever and ever.   And in Whose name we also offer our Lord’s Prayer:


Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name;   Thy Kingdom come;  Thy will be done    on earth as it is in heaven;    Give us this day our daily bread;    And forgive us our trespasses,    as we forgive those who trespass against us;     And lead us not into temptation;     But deliver us from evil;  For Thine is the kingdom,  and the power,  and the glory,   forever and ever.  Amen.

We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Closing Benediction


The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit   be with you all.    Amen.



The Closing Hymn                                                                                                     “The Time Has Come”


The time has come O Lord,   for us to leave this place.

Tend Your sheep, Good Shepherd,   and lead us in Your grace.

Wherever life may take us   as we go our separate ways,

Help us share with others   the things we’ve shared today.


May the peace of God the Father,  and the Love of Christ, His Son,

Guide us in the days ahead,   and strengthen us, each one.

May the blessings of the Spirit   fill us from within.

God bless us and return us.   to this fellowship…..Once again.

Amen.   Amen.   Amen.   Amen.   Amen.


Silent Prayer

Post-Service Music





Last Week At Grace:                                                                                                        Sunday attendance: 63    Communed: 51

Online views : 15    Bible Class:  22   Online: 3    Sunday School: 3

Budget: $4759  Online: $20   School: $100

Tuesday Bible Class: 13        

Wednesday Bible Classes: 4 men (plus 5 online views); 3 women


This Week’s Birthdays and Anniversary      10/12 – Debbie Huebner;

10/12 – Christine and Pat Quinlan;    10/13 – Charles Huebner;


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today      Choir Rehearsal, 8:40 a.m.  Pre-service Hymn singing, 9:25 a.m.  Worship, 9:30 a.m.  Fellowship, 10:40 a.m.     

                 BC/SS 11:05 a.m.       Youth Confirmation 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday  Morning Bible Class, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Wednesday  Evening Bible Classes 6-7 p.m.

Saturday Outreach Calling/Visitation, meet at church at 11 a.m.

Sunday   Morning Worship with the Lord’s Supper, 9:30 a.m.

                 Fellowship, 10:45 a.m. Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.

               Youth Confirmation Class 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.


Serving Us Next Sunday                                                                       Elders:   John Johnson, Vic Walker

Altar Guild:   Harriet Johnson   

    Ushers: Terry Bruns, Tim Huebner, Tom Otto


This Week’s Bible Classes ……..During our Bible Class this morning we’ll be studying I Corinthians 6 (“Lawsuits and Liberty”).   On Tuesday morning, from 10:30-11:30, we’ll study 2 Kings 11.   We’ll consider the story of Athaliah usurping Judah’s throne.    If you can’t join us in person, watch our  class online at,  under “Grace Lutheran Church & Academy.”   This Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m., we’ll offer a Bible class for men, and one for women.   You can participate in person, online, or over-the-phone.  Our men are studying various Psalms (This week, Psalm 23), while our women are studying the Lord’s Prayer.


For Daily Devotions sent to Your Computer or Phone consider subscribing to the excellent devotions available from  Go to the drop down menu for “worship” on the far right of the home page.  Devotions can be found there, but at the bottom is a subscribe button.   Just sign up through the subscription tab.  You’ll receive those devotions to your phone, computer or tablet.